Writer's Strike Bloodies CBS, NBC: Leno, Letterman Down

The Hollywood writer’s strike is cutting into two of the biggest profit centres at CBS and NBC: Leno and Letterman. ABC’s “Nightline,” whose writers aren’t on strike, beat CBS’s Letterman (on strike, in repeats) during November sweeps for the first time in seven years and came pretty close to knocking off Leno, too.

To give a sense of what these shows are worth to the networks, Leno generated $250 million in ad revenue in 2006, according to TNS Media Intelligence, generating profits of $160 million, or about 15% of the network’s bottom line. Last month, Variety reported that Jay and Dave were were in secret talks to come back as soon as Dec. 3rd. These numbers will increase the pressure to get back behind their desks ASAP.

November ratings, according to Nielsen:

                                   total viewers        adults 25-54
ABC “Nightline”            3,810,000            1,850,000
CBS “Late Show”          3,710,000            1,810,000
NBC “Tonight”              4,030,000            1,890,000

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